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Future


Navigating toward the best of all possible futures. Follow along as Singularity Hub discusses the future and latest trends in futurology.

Will Tech Make Insurance Obsolete in the Future?

We profit from it, we fear it, and we find it impossibly hard to quantify: risk. While not the sexiest of industries, insurance can be a life-saving protector, pooling everyone’s premiums to safeguard against some of...

Could Tech Make Government As We Know It Irrelevant?

Governments are one of the last strongholds of an undigitized, linear sector of humanity, and they are falling behind fast. Apart from their struggle to keep up with private sector digitization, federal governments are...

The Rise of Dataism: A Threat to Freedom or a Scientific Revolution?

What would happen if we made all of our data public—everything from wearables monitoring our biometrics, all the way to smartphones monitoring our location, our social media activity, and even our internet search history? Would...

Outdated Evolution: Updating Our Governments to Cope with Disruptive Technology

What happens when evolution shapes an animal for tribes of 150 primitive individuals living in a chaotic jungle, and then suddenly that animal finds itself living with millions of others in an engineered metropolis,...

What Would It Take to Build a Tower as High as Outer Space?

The human desire to create ever bigger and more impressive structures is insatiable. The pyramids of Ancient Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai—now the tallest edifice in the...

Why the Future Is Arriving Faster Than You Think

People have no idea how fast the world is changing. So said Peter Diamandis to the audience at Singularity University’s Global Summit, taking place this week in San Francisco. Diamandis believes the convergence of multiple...

China Is Building a Fleet of Autonomous AI-Powered Submarines. Here Are the Details

A fleet of autonomous, AI-powered submarines is headed into hotly-contested Asian waterways. The vehicles will belong to the Chinese armed forces, and their mission capabilities are likely to raise concerned eyebrows in surrounding countries. According...

AI Can Help Create a Better World—If We Build it Right

Society is rife with fears about the future of AI. For some, like Richard Branson and Ray Dalio, it’s AI’s exacerbation of the wealth gap and the looming social crisis it could bring about....

Could Machine Learning Mean the End of Understanding in Science?

Much to the chagrin of summer party planners, weather is a notoriously chaotic system. Small changes in precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind speed or direction, etc. can balloon into an entirely new set of conditions...

Graphene and Beyond: The Astonishing Properties and Promise of 2D Materials

Since graphene was first isolated in 2004, a Nobel Prize-winning feat that sparked a whole new exciting field of materials science research, 2D materials have had all kinds of suggested applications. Now, at the...

This Mind-Controlled Robotic Limb Lets You Multitask With Three Arms

If you’ve ever juggled a situation where two arms aren’t enough, you’re in luck! Thanks to a new study published in Science Robotics, humans have the ability to mind-control a robotic arm on a...

How Technology Is Helping Close the Gender Gap and Empower Women

Gender inequality is not an issue that only affects women. When half of the human population is denied their full potential, the world as a whole is at an enormous disadvantage. Despite an increase...

From Here to Human-Level Artificial General Intelligence in Four (Not All That) Simple Steps

In the 15 years since I first introduced the term "artificial general intelligence" (AGI), the AI field has advanced tremendously. We now have self-driving cars, automated face recognition and image captioning, machine translation and...

Is the Rise of AI on Wall Street for Better or Worse?

May 6, 2010, is a date that should live in infamy. On that day, the US stock market suffered a trillion-dollar collapse. Do you remember it? In just 15 minutes from 2:45 pm, the Dow...

Why Most of Us Fail to Grasp Coming Exponential Gains in AI

By now, most of us are familiar with Moore’s Law, the famous maxim that the development of computing power follows an exponential curve, doubling in price-performance (that is, speed per unit cost) every 18...

The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life Is Not Fixed

In a recent Nature Sustainability paper, a team of scientists concluded that the Earth can sustain, at most, only 7 billion people at subsistence levels of consumption (and this June saw us at 7.6...

Traditional Advertising Is Soon to Be History. Here’s What Will Replace It

This year (2018), the global advertising industry is projected to surpass $550 billion. Advertising revenues have driven Google’s valuation to >$700 billion, and Facebook to >$500 billion. All of that is about to change. What...

New DNA Synthesis Method Could Soon Build a Genome in a Day

Synthetic biologists are the computer programmers of biology. Their code? DNA. The whole enterprise sounds fantastical: you insert new snippets of DNA code—in the form of a chain of A, T, C, G letters—into an...

Laws of Flight: As Drones Take Off, Regulation Lags

In 2014, a drone got tangled in the power lines outside a South Carolina prison carrying a small payload of marijuana and a cellphone. Police arrested a man in a nearby campsite who’d been...

New Evidence That the World Really Is Getting Better

If you allow your perception of humanity to be shaped by the news, it is easy to lose sight of the narrative of human progress. Struggling democracies, suicide epidemics, climate change, and acts of...

Are Electric Planes the Future of Aviation?

Last week saw a rather unusual flight plan. Norway’s Transport Minister and the CEO of its major airport operator, Avinor, flew a quick lap around Oslo’s airport in a tiny two-person plane. Unremarkable—except that...

The Smart Road Tech That’s Making Driving Faster, Safer, And Just Better

From autonomous cars to flying taxis to electric-powered aircraft, technological innovations in transportation vehicles seem to be moving faster than Elon Musk’s express loop underneath Chicago. But when it comes to regular roads and...

Video Gamers May Soon Be Paid More Than Top Pro Athletes

Your interest in sports may have started out as a hobby when you were just a kid. You were better at it than others, and some even said you were gifted. Maybe you had...

How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?

As technology has progressed, humans have become ever more powerful. With this power comes great opportunity and great risk. Nowhere is this clearer than in the potential of artificial intelligence. But a new report...

Is It Moral to Seek Immortality? A Discussion at the Vatican

Earlier this month, I participated in a discussion/debate at the Vatican on the topic of “The Morality of Immortality.” The discussion was moderated by CNN medical anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and included Rabbi Dr. Edward...

5 Organizations Using Cool Tech Solutions and Research to Clean Up the Oceans

The Earth is an ocean world. From space, this fact is obvious, whether the planet appears as a bluish dust mote at the edge of the solar system, a bright sapphire star from our...

Holograms Can Now Program Brain Activity—Are Fake Experiences Next?

Optogenetics, neuroscience’s hottest mind-control tool, just got a major update. Projecting 3D-light holograms—yes, holograms!—directly onto a mouse’s cortex, engineers at UC Berkeley instantaneously gained control of dozens of neurons at once. That’s not the impressive part....

Will Europe’s Looming Tech Rules Prove to Be a Template for the World?

There was a time when people bought most of the software on their computer, but this is, of course, now ancient history. Some software you still buy, but much of today’s most-used software is...

Stuff 3.0: The Era of Programmable Matter

It’s the end of a long day in your apartment in the early 2040s. You decide your work is done for the day, stand up from your desk, and yawn. “Time for a film!”...

Tech Optimists See a Golden Future—Let’s Talk About How We’ll Get There

Technology evangelists dream about a future where we’re all liberated from the more mundane aspects of our jobs by artificial intelligence. Other futurists go further, imagining AI will enable us to become superhuman, enhancing...

Robot Cities: Three Urban Prototypes for Future Living

Before I started working on real-world robots, I wrote about their fictional and historical ancestors. This isn’t so far removed from what I do now. In factories, labs, and of course science fiction, imaginary...

How Will Merging Minds and Machines Change Our Conscious Experience?

One of the most exciting and frightening outcomes of technological advancement is the potential to merge our minds with machines. If achieved, this would profoundly boost our cognitive capabilities. More importantly, however, it could...

The Wild New Materials of the Future Will Be Discovered With AI

How materials for computer chips, solar panels, and batteries are developed looks to be in the early stages of a radical change. The same goes for research related to areas like superconductors and thermoelectrics. The...

Republish Our Content—Singularity Hub Launches Creative Commons

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re excited to finally announce we have officially launched a new way for publishers to easily (and legally) republish our articles on their sites. We believe an important...

What If the AI Revolution Is Neither Utopia nor Apocalypse, but Something in Between?

Why does everyone assume that the AI revolution will either lead to a fiery apocalypse or a glorious utopia, and not something in between? Of course, part of this is down to the fact that...

If Energy Becomes Free in the Future, How Will That Affect Our Lives?

Technology is making the cost of many things trend towards zero. Things we used to have to pay a lot for are now cheap or even free—think about how much it costs to buy...

How We Can ‘Robot-Proof’ Education to Better Adapt to Automation

Like millions of other individuals in the workforce, you’re probably wondering if you will one day be replaced by a machine. If you’re a student, you’re probably wondering if your chosen profession will even...

What Roboticists Are Learning From Early Generations of Lifelike Humanoid Robots

You might not have heard of Hanson Robotics, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen their work. They were the company behind Sophia, the lifelike humanoid avatar that’s made dozens of high-profile media...

The Power to Upgrade Our Own Biology Is in Sight—But Is Society Ready for Human Enhancement?

Upgrading our biology may sound like science fiction, but attempts to improve humanity actually date back thousands of years. Every day, we enhance ourselves through seemingly mundane activities such as exercising, meditating, or consuming...

Why the Rise of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Actually Increase Car Ownership

It’s been a long time coming. For years Waymo (formerly known as Google Chauffeur) has been diligently developing, driving, testing and refining its fleets of various models of self-driving cars. Now Waymo is going...

The Clock’s Ticking on Climate Change, and It’s Time to Get Real About Tackling It

If you’re an insomniac, this situation will probably be familiar to you. It’s the night before a big exam or job interview. You go to bed with plenty of time to spare, but sleep...

You Thought Quantum Mechanics Was Weird: Check out Entangled Time

In the summer of 1935, the physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger engaged in a rich, multifaceted and sometimes fretful correspondence about the implications of the new theory of quantum mechanics. The focus of...

Why Quantum Computers Will Be an Amazing Tool for Social Innovators

While most people think quantum computing is still a few years off, your next taxi ride in Bangkok may be attached to a quantum computer. Toyota Tsusho and Denso recently announced plans to use...

These Are the Most Exciting Industries and Jobs of the Future

We’ve all read the headlines: the robots are coming, and they will take our jobs. In fact, up to 45 percent of tasks workers perform can be automated using current technology, let alone future forecasts. However,...

Want Faster Data and a Cleaner Planet? Start Mining Asteroids

Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking...

Low-Cost Soft Robot Muscles Can Lift 200 Times Their Weight and Self-Heal

Jerky mechanical robots are staples of science fiction, but to seamlessly integrate into everyday life they’ll need the precise yet powerful motor control of humans. Now scientists have created a new class of artificial...

If Work Dominated Your Every Moment Would Life Be Worth Living?

Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly,...

Why the World Is Still Getting Better—and That’s Likely to Continue

If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s finite resources can easily lead you...

This Unbelievable Research on Human Hibernation Could Get Us to Mars

Journeying to Mars is seldom out of the news these days. From Elon Musk releasing plans for his new rocket to allow SpaceX to colonize Mars, to NASA announcing another rover as part of...

When Will We Finally Achieve True Artificial Intelligence?

The field of artificial intelligence goes back a long way, but many consider it was officially born when a group of scientists at Dartmouth College got together for a summer, back in 1956. Computers...

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